The man on the balcony
From the balcony of my apartment I saw an forsaken Alsatian dog bullied by the street-bred dogs - with tail between its legs, harrowed by the puny pack, it hid itself under a parked car. It howled all night while the city slept over a self-indulged day. Could anyone have noticed the abandonment and the canine's pain?
"What is it about a city that makes it a lonely place?”, I wondered the day after I had moved into a city from another as part of my transfer. I was provided pick-up, accommodation and laundering. The food was served on the call and 'coffin nail' on the bell. The linen continued to come in white. The crisp sound of the wall clock was bothering however, television was provided to drown it.
I had been on short trips to this city before and didn’t feel the same; but it is now that I have moved into it. Can it be like moving into a place with person you were passionately in love with and then the facts of life start bothering you? Maybe not. Passion fades with times but chances are that love grows and takes over. So this analogy might not exactly fit in. With time you get used to ways of a place; you start ignoring the filth until life presents you a better alternative.
Mathematically, isn't your interaction with ,reactions to the acts and behaviors of few individuals around you multiplied by a million, your experience of the city ? May be not. As I lay thinking, I remember feeling similar in other cities too before I got used to it or imagined myself elsewhere. So, isn't the loneliness just in the head? It indeed is and the best I could do is shut my mind to these thoughts or as many unconsciously do, rattle every sensory organ and flush these thoughts out.
But, why is it that the loneliness lurks around. People are all around me ,in various colors and forms. Women in patterns know and unknown;men lost in thoughts and the thoughtless ;kids over grown in body and desires; there are old men too - some homeless ,sleeping or probably dead on the footpath; cars of pride ,buses of conveyance and bikes of impatience and vigor. There are multitude fine strands connecting all of these and yet, each one is for himself.
The strands quietly snap and make new bonds, keeping out the one not suiting the time, place and event. Everything has a place in a city and it is a million cities within a city. Some don't see it, some don't recognize it and the others ignore it even as the loneliness remains there as backdrop to the 'games people play'.
I walk into a street side pub - music blares out conversations ,gobo flashes out visibility and only thing you could smell is smoke and sweat. Even the sensation of touch is unintelligible in the huddle. All senses systematically drowned. But is it not ideal to shut it all out and lose yourself in the music, smoke and desire? May be not.
Loneliness is not realized until you set your foot out from the comfort of the imagined-company and make-believe life.Life in the city could sting and turn you numb to everything around - indifferent to the wailing dog,the old man frozen on the foot-path and the forlornness of the man on the balcony.